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Tarnished Beauty (Peregrino #1)

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  1,434 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Now available in paperback from the critically acclaimed author whose writing is “soulful and unsentimental” ( Kirkus Reviews )— a profound story that reflects on the true meaning of beauty.

From the moment she was born, Jamilet’s gruesome birthmark frightened the superstitious villagers in her rural Mexican town, making them believe she was marked by the devil: “It was sai
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Washington Square Press (first published 2005)
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Ingrid Fasquelle
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amateurs de romans d'apprentissage, n'hésitez pas à vous plonger dans ce merveilleux roman qu'est La Belle Imparfaite ! Cecilia Samartin possède un incroyable talent de conteuse qui vous emmènera loin ! Sur les chemins éprouvants mais magnifiques de Saint Jacques de Compostelle, vous rêverez et cheminerez à la découverte de l'amour spirituel et charnel.

Si comme moi, vous aimez les romans intelligents et bien écrits, vous ne pourrez qu'être conquis par la plume délicate et poétique de l'auteure.
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katri by: my mother
Loved this. Beautiful, original, with fascinating characters and stories, filled with emotion yet not too sentimental. I found the ending somehow a bit rushed (though I loved the final pages) and there were a few times where I felt confused by the logic of the events, otherwise I might have given it five stars. Will keep an eye out for Samartin's other works.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jorden-runt
IIIH! I really really really liked this book! When I studied Sociology in New York a couple of years back I took a class called "Sociology 35; global culture". During that course we focused a lot on USA and Canada's relation towards Mexico and the citizens there. Since then, I've been pretty much super fashionated about the Mexican border. Although, this time I didn't read course litterature or non-fiction books about the topic; I read a novel.

Jamilet crosses the mexican border to find a doctor
Tara Chevrestt
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Once again, I am left amazed and reeling by the writing of Cecilia Samartin. When I read her work (and this is my 2nd one) I find myself pulling on my hair and muttering to myself, "Now this is a real writer, the kind of writer I only dream of being. My work sucks compared to this."

In Tarnished Beauty, there are two stories, the first one being about Jamilet. The time is... 1950s? (I assumed this because of the reference to Elvis music.) The setting is Mexico. Jamilet has a huge birthmark that
It was a beautiful story, and i couldn't stop reading it. But I was really disappointed by the ending. Thats why it lost two stars. For me, it ruined the final experience of the book. It seemed like the author got tired of writing and just wanted to end it as fast as possible, and just published it. But, I have talked to other people who have read the book, and they do not have the same strong feeling as me about the ending. But in the end, this is a book you should read, because it gives you a ...more
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Den här boken vann jag för snart två år sedan på Västmanländskans bokblogg. Just då var Cecilia Samartin väldigt i ropet och jag läste om hennes böcker i stort sett varenda dag. Ändå har boken blivit stående i bokhyllan och i år tog jag med den i min boktolva, så den säkert skulle bli läst. Läs mer på
Marianne Atsinki
Viihteellistä hömppää, joka sopii luettavaksi loman alkajaisiksi. Toki tarina koukuttaa, mutta mitään uutta tai syvää se ei anna. Henkilöt ovat stereotyyppisiä: Jamilet kummajainen, outsider, joka tietysti löytää unelmiensa miehen unelmien Amerikasta. - Vaikeuksien kautta voittoon tässäkin suhteessa. Senor Peregrino muuttuu odotetusti hirviöstä hellyttäväksi sedäksi. Lopetus melkein hävetti.
Nopealukuinen ja imelä höpöhöpötarina. Hahmot ja juoni ovat niin typeriä, ettei voisi vähempää kiinnostaa miten heidän tarinansa jatkuu. Muistelisin kokeneeni samanlaisia epätoivoisia fiiliksiä Paulo Coelhon parissa. Ei enää ikinä, kiitos.

HelMet: kirja, jonka tapahtumat sijoittuvat Suomen ulkopuolelle
Kristina Olsen
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its been a little over a year since Ive read it, but the impression Señor Peregrino made in my life hasn't left me yet. It's a beautiful, poetic story about young Jamilet and her journey towards self-acceptance and love. ...more
Clara Axner
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Härlig med en seriös underton. Passar nog för de som vill ha en feelgoodhistoria, men med djup och fina karaktärer. Ser fram emot att läsa de två andra i serien
Jul 01, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read this by lack of something better on holiday. Anything else would have been better.
Jill Furedy
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The movie Don Juan DeMarco came to mind part way through this book. Not the love affairs part, but the story being told by the mental patient which you want to believe, but seems made up. In this case, the person being told the story is a young woman with a disfiguring birthmark who crossed the border from Mexico hoping for a medical miracle and instead winds up working for this special patient at the mental ward. I liked Jamilet well enough, and her Aunt Carmen and her boyfriend Louis. Eddie an ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 🌟
May 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mother read this book translated into Norwegian, and recommended it to me. When reading books that are originally written in a language I do not read fluently, such as Spanish or Russian, I have no problem reading the book in Norwegian, and often prefer to, as despite living in Norway, and even teaching Norwegian in school, I tend to read nearly everything in English nowadays. The Norwegian title of the book is Senor Peregrino, making me believe the original novel was in Spanish. Once I reali ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american

I must admit that I don't usually go for books like this, but when my teacher told us we had to read this for English class I was actually quite excited. I've heard great things about this book, especially since this book is a bestseller in Norway.

The book was well-written and the story is, to some degree, intrigueing. Throughout the book, the drama never subsides and there is always something going on in the background, so to speak. Samartin manages to describe the setting a
Wendy Kendall
This is a story about believing in miracles. The message is everything in life is an illusion; the truth is what we believe with the power of conviction. We make our own miracles. Choose your stories and believe in them with all your heart, and all your soul – your entire being, and they will be your truth.

Jamilet is marked from birth. Her face radiates beauty, with a deeply entrenched sadness at its core. On her back, from shoulder all the way to her knees. “A hideous swirl of blood and disfigu
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes, starting a book with no expectations is incredibly rewarding. The cover to TARNISHED BEAUTY seems erotic to me, all bare flesh and silky material. The typeface used on the cover screams science fiction. Neither is true of the novel. The blurb is accurate to the novel’s contents, but it seems plain. TARNISHED BEAUTY is anything but.

I love this novel. It pulled me in and did not let go even after I turned the last page, sometime between Anthropology and my bio section. I did not want to
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cecilia Samartin é considerada, por alguns, “a sucessora de Isabel Allende” e é verdade que conseguimos notar algumas semelhanças, nomeadamente no que diz respeito às personagens femininas – pobres, injustiçadas, mas com garra para vencer as adversidades.

Jamilet é um jovem mexicana que nasceu com uma marca de nascença que cobre as costas até aos joelhos e que muitos consideram a “marca do diabo”. Marginalizada na sua aldeia natal, ela decide passar ilegalmente a fronteira com os Estados Unidos
Camilla Juhlin
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jamilet växer upp i en by i Mexico, fantastiskt vacker men med ett födelsemärke som gör att hon hamnar utanför och hela sin uppväxt får utstå spefulla och elaka kommentarer och blickar. Hela sin uppväxt drömmer hon om ett liv som alla andra. När sedan hennes mamma dör tar hon sig illegalt till USA där hon hoppas kunna spara tillräckligt med pengar för att hitta ett botemedel. Hon får jobb under falskt namn på ett mentalsjukhus på femte våningen hos Senor Peregrino som han kallar sig. När hon en ...more
Nov 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The good:
I like books, where the author is interested in (and able to) combine a story, which takes place in a physical World, with elements from the spiritual world. Cecilia Samartin has some skill in this area.
Cecilia's way of writing makes you feel like flowing down the stream as you read. You are carried from one sentence to the next. The spiritual elements in the story creates little philosophical and emotional moments as the story unfolds.

Not so good:
I read Señor Peregrino in Danish which,
I chuckled at the title when I looked at the book in the library. I assumed it was some crappy V.C. Andrews-wannabe with lots of incest and molestation, but skimming through it, I realized the writing was good and the characters seemed solid. I raced through it today because I didn't want to put it down. While washing my floors, I kept pausing to read just one more paragraph.

The story is about a young Mexican girl born with a very dark red birthmark from her shoulders to the back of her knees. S
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
God historie, overfladisk sprog.
Denne roman søger virkelig at røre sine læsere - men alligevel er det som om, at det aldrig rigtig lykkedes den.
Historien er god nok til at gøre det, men sproget blokerer vejen for historien, og den ender derfor bare som en middelmådig bog. Dertil kommer, at karaktererne er for uskyldige, for overfladiske til at man egentlig føler, at man mærker dem. Jeg vil derimod ikke give bogen en dårlig anbefaling, for én ting fungerer dog stadig, og det er budskabet. Jamile
Laura Walin
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
ENsimmäinen kirj, jonka "luin" äänikirjana, enkä sko, että joukkoon tulee kovin monta lisää. Riippumatta siitä, kuinka tylsää hommaa tein, ajatukset lähtiväthelposti karkailemaan, enkä voi väittää, että ihan joka sana on tullut kuultua. Minulla oli myös vaikeuksia uskoa tekniikkaani, ja sitä, että se löysi aina oikean kohdan. Loput trilogian kirjat onkin tullut hankittua näköversioina.

Mutta itse teoksesta pidin. Siinä oli aika ajoin jotain sellaista maagista tarinankerronnan lumoa, joka onnistui
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't exactly hooked in the beginning of the story, but the further it got the more interesting it became. I'm a fan of stories within stories and I think this one did it quite well. The ending came as a surprise and I'm still not entirely sure if I believe what I've read or not. (I guess the point would be to choose what you want to believe in.) I liked how Jamilet grew more and more confident during the story and how it ultimately was a story of accepting yourself as you are. Her aunt was a ...more
I really like this book! At first it was a little "too old" for me, but I always liked the story. It wasn't before in the middle of Senor Peregrinos story I got obsessed and couldnt stop reading the book. The story is just really beautiful, exiting and touching, and I love how senor Peregrino and Jamilet's relationship grows in the book. I always thought it was going to happen something special to them both. :) Cecilia Samartin has written a very beautiful, suprising an good book, that I really, ...more
Eva Dillner
I read the Swedish translation. It's yet another story about a pilgrimage along El Camino. Having read Paulo Coehlo's and Shirley MacLaine's accounts, this one pales in comparison. Yet this book is not really about the pilgrimage, but about the girl Jamilet. Like most latino writing there is quirkiness to the language and the action, quite charming and lovely to read. For the most part I enjoyed the book but not nearly as much as I'd expected. A few too many loose ends by the end of the story.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After seeing this book in my local library several times I finally checked it out, and I am so glad I did. Tarnished Beauty is the story of Jamilet, a beautiful young woman with a "disfiguring" birthmark, who immigrates from Mexico to the U.S. and lands a job in a mental hospital. Her job at the hospital only requires her to take care of one person: the elderly and disagreeable Señor Peregrino. When Señor Peregrino asks that Jamilet listens to his story the two of them create a friendship of sor ...more
Alma Q
Suburbian inspiration porn for privileged ladies. The best I can say about the whole thing is that the prose isn't terrible. The worst I can say is that I forgot 95% of it as soon as I read it. Insultingly insignificant and trite considering the subject matter, and with one of the cheesiest endings I have ever seen. Another reviewer here, uncanny as ever, compares this to Paulo Coelho's work. If that's your thing...
Tania Martins
Em resumo este livro foi o caos! A protagonista tinha uma pancada muito grande na cabeça, aliado a um doente que conta histórias da rota de Santiago e respetivos amores e a uma tia meio louca e um vizinho giraço com namorada e estranho...é um enredo surreal!

Nem sei bem o que diga, tinha tudo para ser um livro fantástico mas acho que fantasiaram demasiado e aquele final foi mesmo tipo ah acabou assim, ok!
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, 4-star-fiction
I picked up an advanced reader's copy, not sure what to think of it. I ended up really enjoying it, which surprised me. I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we all do -- and this cover made the book seem like some cheesy romance. It's not. It's actually an interesting story about two people thrown together, dealing with the fate dealt to them, taking different forms of pilgrimage, hoping to find salvation outside of their own imaginations. I definitely recommend it.
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I was born in Cuba at the height of the revolution. My family left when I was nine months old so I have no memories of my own, although I "borrowed" countless memories from my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
I grew up in a quiet Los Angeles suburb and secretly dreamed of becoming a writer, but after high school I decided to study psychology instead and became a marriage and fami
More about Cecilia Samartin...

Other Books in the Series

Peregrino (3 books)
  • La Peregrina (Peregrino, #2)
  • Los Peregrinos (Peregrino, #3)
“Magic is for weak-hearted fools, whereas miracles are born of faith, and nothing else.” 1 likes
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